Felony weapons cases increase over 90%, report says
Case filings in Alaska trial courts have decreased steadily but certain crimes are on the rise, data from the Alaska Justice Information Center says.
The information center at the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center released its June 2019 report which illustrates data collected from the Alaska Court System for fiscal years 2007 through 2018.
From 2007 to 2018, the information center says there were fewer misdemeanors filed but felonies increased for violent, property and weapons crimes.
Misdemeanor case filings remained stable until 2011 when 32,353 cases were filed. Cases declined through 2017 but rose 11.6% in 2018 with 21,232 cases filed.
The report also found weapons crimes were the only case type to increase on both the misdemeanor and felony level, with 431 cases filed in 2018. Misdemeanor weapons cases increased by 24.7% and felony cases went up by 94.3%, according to the information center.
Weapons offenses include misconduct involving weapons, criminal possession of explosives and unlawful furnishing of explosives, according to the information center. The report says most increases in felonies happened between 2014 and 2018.
The report states violent and property crimes overall have been stable or decreased between 2007 and 2018. However, felony violent case filings went from 1,772 in 2007 to 2,569 in 2018 — a 45% increase. Violent cases include assault, murder, reckless endangerment, human trafficking as well as robbery, extortion and coercion.
Other cases with offenses involving drugs, driving under the influence, public order (rioting, disorderly conduct, harassment) and motor vehicles (not including vehicle theft which is classified under property crimes) showed a decrease in filings.The information center says the Alaska Court System publishes court activity and data each year for every fiscal year, which falls between July 1 and June 30. Trial court cases detailed in the information center's June 2019 report include data from both superior and district courts. Alaska's superior courts handle felonies, probate cases, domestic relations and children's matters. While district courts handle initial proceedings for felony offenses, the district is responsible for criminal misdemeanor cases, citations and municipal code violations.
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